The British Academy of Film andTelevision Arts (Bafta) has boosted its recognitionof the video games industry. Bafta has now made videogames equal to film and television, and will put increased emphasis on theBritish Academy Video Games Awards.

The gamesawards will move to October 2006 to coincide with the London Games Week ofconsumer and industry games events.

The Academysaid it "seeks to reward artistic and creative innovation within video games,as one of the principal contemporary art forms."

Bafta noted that the games industry is the fastestgrowing entertainment medium and in 2005 was worth £1.35 billion in the UK, almost 1.5times the UK filmbox-office business.

"Video gamesconstitute a hugely significant new, moving image art form that sits alongsidefilm and television in its power to entertain and educate, and the Academy isdetermined to encourage its development," Baftachairman Duncan Kenworthy said. "The British AcademyVideo Games Awards are a key part of our strategy to define, articulate andreward excellence in the sector, to the benefit of those who create games andthose who play them."

Bafta has formed a new games committee, led by PaulJackson, the VP and Managing Director Northern Region for games companyElectronic Arts. Committee members are drawn from companies and industry groupsincluding Activision, Eidos, VivendiUniversal Games, Sega, Tiga, and SCEE.

Bafta started recognising games in 1997 with the startof the Bafta Interactive Entertainment Awards. Thegames awards have stood on their own since 2003 andwere formerly held in March.